About a week ago I went to the Governor and Council meeting in Concord because a friend had a hearing requesting that a worker’s comp lien be vacated; only the G&C can do that according to statute.
The situation was he was almost killed in the line of duty performing his duties as a state employee. I am not going to use his name or circumstances since I do not have his permission to do so; but, the circumstances of how he has been treated by the state and Liberty Mutual, the worker’s comp carrier can only be described as reprehensible and despicable. I put this case evaluation in a letter to each one of the G&C Counselor’s before the hearing.
I discussed with the director of Administrative Services (she oversees the bureau of risk management), prior to the hearing that I believed she was being lied to. She as well as the governor seemed to be relying on an attorney who I have dealt with in the past and in my opinion found to be untruthful. The attorney is a contractor doing business with the state.
I do not think the G&C had seen a hearing like this in a long time. The opposition tried to portray my friend as a difficult person to deal with, un-cooperative, and just greedy trying to renege on a court agreement to pad his books.
The facts that my friend presented were clear, simple and straight forward. He was almost killed, sustained serious head injuries and a myriad of other injuries sustained in the line of duty as a law enforcement officer. That is when he and his lawyer tried to deal with Liberty Mutual on the workers comp part of the case; they were told that under no circumstances would Liberty Mutual deal with them. The only course of action was to go before the G&C.
The lawyer representing the state (the contractor I have dealt with on two separate occasions), throughout the hearing continued to try to cloud the issue and confuse the Council. My friend and his attorney effectively rebutted the misinformation. At the very end of the hearing the governor asked if there was a motion, Ray Wizoreck from Manchester made a motion to deny the petition for relief, Deborah Pignetelli from Nashua seconded it. There are five members on the counsel and those two were the only ones supporting the denial motion, it died. Our G&C counselor, Bev Hollingworth made a motion to pass the request and it was seconded by John Shea from Nelson and supported by Ray Burton. At that point the governor finally spoke; I was going to throw him a doggie treat until I heard what he was saying. What he told the counsel was that if the counsel voted to pass this petition he was going to negate the vote and the issue would fail, if the council voted to table it he would not object and justified it by saying he had questions about this issue. The request was tabled; the governor called a recess and bolted out of the G&C chambers into his office.
I personally thanked Bev Hollingworth, Ray Burton from Bath and John Shea for seeing through the lies and doing the right thing. A special note of thanks goes to Bev for championing a righteous cause, doing her homework and defending her constituent. She did an outstanding job and whether a democrat or republican deserves our thanks.
This leads us to the nasty underbelly of, many times, the dirty side of special interests as they influence the bureaucracy. What do we do when we catch department heads and lawyers lying? There are some remedies available to us and we are exploring them. I have requested a copy of the tape of the hearing and am trying to find a disinterested state rep that will put in a bill of address to fire the department head for lying. We also need to explore doing away with Liberty Mutual as the states worker’s comp carrier. Our State Employees deserve better. As far as the attorney goes, the option is to file a complaint with the Bar Association for his mis-conduct.